Veggie sausage casserole, cumin sweet potato mash, nutty greens

Sausages. It is rare to find a person who doesn’t love a good sausage. A friend of mine gives them as Valentine’s gifts. Many nationalities have their own version. They can be meaty, veggie, vegan, pescatarian. Made of pork, beef, venison, blood, chicken, fish, soya. They can be smoked, unsmoked, spicy, garlicky, sweet, herby. They can be short, long, thin, thick, curly, straight. Slow cook them on a Sunday morning and they’ll rouse the laziest of lumps into action.

Last week I needed to come up with dinner for six, two of whom are veggie, two of whom in particular love a sausage. I was preparing for the current detox so it’s booze, red meat and dairy free. I’ve since discovered wheat-free veggie sausages exist so I’ll use those in future. I would usually cook the meat version of this with cider or wine, but used apple juice instead. In place of white potato, we had sweet potato, carrot and garlic mash. Greens were made more interesting by adding toasted almonds, lemon juice and butter/olive oil. There was a little butter and cream involved as this was pre-detox and I was cooking for others, but having had all of it since without, you can easily lose them with little effect.

It was pre-detox so I forgot to take a photo of the casserole with the sausages in it…

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What to use

For the sausage casserole – serves 6

  • 12 gluten-free veggie sausages
  • 400g cannellini beans (optional)
  • a chopped red onion
  • 2 large mushrooms
  • 2 sweet peppers – I used red and orange
  • 100ml fresh apple juice
  • 150ml veg stock
  • 400g organic chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 3 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced

For the sweet potato mash

  • sweet potatoes – as many as you want to eat – I used 3 big ones
  • one carrot for every potato you use
  • 3 cloves of garlic – peeled but whole

For the nutty greens

  • broccoli – as much as you want to eat
  • green beans – as above
  • flaked almonds
  • knob of butter (optional)
  • tablespoon of olive oil
  • juice of a lemon (if doing enough for 6)

How to use it

For the casserole

I used a cast iron casserole for this. Fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Add the chilli and paprika. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped peppers and mushrooms. Coat well in the spicey onion mix. After a couple of minutes add the apple juice, stock, and chopped tomatoes. Bring to a bubble. Add the (drained and rinsed) cannellini beans. Put the lid on and put into a 160C oven for 40 mnutes.

After 40 minutes, fry your veggie sausages until browned (around 10 mins). Then add them to the casserole and put back in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

You can then turn off and keep it until you’re ready to eat or serve straight away. I left it for a few hours. When ready to serve, chop some fresh parsley and sprinkle over the top.

For the mash

Peel and boil all three ingredients until soft. While they are boiling, toast a large handful of cumin seeds in a non-stick frying pan (approx 4 mins on a medium heat until they start to smoke) and set aside. When the potatoes and carrots are soft, drain and then mash with a big knob of butter (or olive oil) and a big pinch of salt and pepper, then stir in the cumin seeds, saving some to sprinkle on top. I served with a dollop of sour cream.

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For the greens

In a non stick pan, toast a big handful of flaked almonds and set aside. Blanche your veg for a minute, then drain. Heat a knob of butter and a glug of olive oil (to stop the butter burning) to a bubble, then add your veg and almonds and toss in the buttery oil and lemon juice. Season to taste.

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